Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability and Efficiency Award
The global data center industry is growing at a remarkable rate. For many of us, that is good news. Analysts at IDC expect data centers worldwide to be handling 175 zettabytes of data by 2025. Cushman & Wakefield Research tallies some 1.6 GW of DC capacity under development in 2020, with 90 percent of that growth clustered in the top ten existing data center markets like Singapore, Northern Virginia, London, Dublin, and Silicon Valley.
The global pandemic slowed growth and investment somewhat but analysts do not expect this to have lasting effects. Most still expect a sustained Consolidated Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) as high as six percent, with sectors like healthcare to hit 16.4 percent.
Still, these positive signs come at a cost. These high-development markets struggle with sustainability and with bringing enough clean power online to support this growth. This is why I got into the business. We see opportunities to do better. And we are making progress.
The Bulk Difference
After many years in industrial real estate and infrastructure development in and around Norway and the Nordics, I started Bulk Infrastructure in 2006 to create Real Estate and Infrastructure that enables a more sustainable future. Driven by a strong conviction that long-term positive impact to the environment can best be achieved when sustainability goes hand in hand with creating value and profitability for customers, Bulk has grown to encompass three lines of business including industrial real estate, data centers, and fiber networks.
Many bold and smart people have joined me in establishing and growing Bulk over the years. Our work and every project we undertake is guided by four key criteria. It must be sustainable. It must be infrastructure. It must be scalable internationally. And it must be related to the Nordics.
This approach gives Bulk a unique platform in the sector. Our growth, along with our growing network of customers, partners, influencers, suppliers and consultants, is evidence of our progress toward our vision:
Racing to bring sustainable infrastructure to a global audience.
Expanding Markets and Reducing Footprints
Bulk continues to create lasting impacts and customer value in the real estate and telecoms sector across each of our three business areas. Our view of value creation drives how we deliver across each business.
We seek innovation based on experience to forge new paths towards positive change. We take an industrial approach to investments, prioritizing diversification, scalability and potential to deliver predictable revenues over the long term. We are active owners, relying on internal cross-discipline expertise as a hands-on partner our clients can trust. We strive to access early stages in the value chain with patient, risk-tolerant investments in capital-intensive industries. Building on our successes, we assume an expanding market leadership role to deploy and deliver on the environmental, societal and long-term financial benefits of sustainable infrastructure.
In industrial real estate, we develop and build efficient, large-scale industrial and logistics facilities in strategic locations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Solutions include build-to-suit industrial buildings, cross-dock terminals featuring leading design and durability, warehousing with efficient and modular designs, and logistics parks to facilitate logistics operations.
Bulk’s commitment to sustainability spans across all three lines of business. In 2019, our Industrial Real Estate group earned Norway’s first BREEAM-NOR Very Good environmental certification for a light industrial building at Bulk’s Flexipark Vestby facility. Norwegian transportation and logistics leader Leman Norway AS is the current tenant.
Established in 1990, BREEAM is the world’s oldest and Europe’s leading environmental certification tool for buildings. BREEAM-NOR is the Norwegian adaptation of BREEAM and the industry’s own tool for measuring environmental performance developed by the Green Building Alliance in close collaboration with the construction and real estate industry in Norway.
At Bulk, we are pleased and proud that our strategic focus on sustainability produces standards and practices that work so well within BREEAM. The project at Vestby is based on Bulk’s standard Bulk Module and the certification is confirmation that this concept satisfies level BREEAM-NOR Very Good. It is vital that Bulk’s standards and approaches continue to drive sustainable infrastructure forward.
We currently provide access to large sites ready for development across more than nine key locations in the region with a presence in Sweden and Denmark. We offer hands-on support to identify potential sites, acquire the right permissions, finance the project efficiently, design to meet unique requirements and maximize green benefits, lead construction through handover, and provide asset management and tenant supervisions support.
ESG Example: Leif Erikson Subsea Cable Project
Bulk Infrastructure’s Leif Erikson subsea cable system proposal brings together all of the essential elements of an effective Environmental, Societal and Governmental (ESG) initiative.
In 2018, the Norwegian government issued a national strategy, Powered by Nature: Norway as a Data Center Nation. A critical element to achieving this vision is the availability of dark fiber, including pathways to North America and Europe as well as to Asia via the Northeast Passage. Leif Erikson would become the first trans-Atlantic system powered with 100 percent renewable energy.
With an intended RFS date in 2024, this 4,200 km subsea system will stretch from the Stavanger region in Norway to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Canada with potential branches subject to specific customer interest. It will include points of presence via terrestrial backhaul along the Trans-Labrador Highway to Quebec City and Montreal and via Bulk’s Inter-City Ring into Oslo.
Connecting the Nordics and Atlantic Canada allows the global telecom industry to “unlock the renewable energy giants.” Both have vast amounts of stable and reliable renewable energy to reduce our collective carbon footprint. Both are in the North where cool climates allow for greater use of natural air cooling, further reducing energy consumption. Both have robust core infrastructure allowing ready access to the power grid.
Leif Erikson brings socio-economic development benefits. Local partnerships for the terrestrial portions along the Trans-Labrador Highway create jobs and growth. Bulk’s cooperation and collaboration with CanArctic Inuit Networks will improve connectivity for the indigenous Inuit regions of Nunatsiavut and Nunavut. The enhanced connectivity expands indigenous participation in the digital economy.
Bulk Infrastructure formed in 2006 to create Real Estate and Infrastructure that enables a more sustainable future. We believe long-term positive environmental impact is best achieved when sustainability includes value and profitability for customers. Our work is guided by four key criteria. It must be sustainable. It must be infrastructure. It must be scalable internationally. And it must be related to the Nordics.
Bulk has a unique voice in the sector. Our growing network of customers and partners is evidence of our progress toward our vision: Racing to bring sustainable infrastructure to a global audience.
Leif Erikson will be financed, built and operated by Bulk Fiber Networks. Installation will take place over two summer seasons for supplier flexibility. The route configuration is being finalized and the project schedule includes survey work completed in 2022, manufacturing in 2022-2023, installation in 2023-2024 with commissioning and RFS in 2024.
The initiative brings together more than 50 stakeholders including suppliers, influencers, wet and dry consultants, financial, partners and Government institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. Bulk is aligned with Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, who issued the 2018 national strategy. The Leif Erikson initiative is also pulling in local and provincial governments in eastern Canada as well as intergovernmental cooperation at the national level.
Voices of Support
“Norwegians have long understood the value and need to extend their networks, just as Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer who landed in North America which is the name of Bulk Infrastructure’s fibre cable from Norway to Canada. CanArctic Inuit Networks, a Canadian Inuit-led company is very excited by the partnership we are developing with Norwegian business, Bulk Infrastructure, to bring fibre optic networks into Canada’s Arctic. The cooperation and collaboration between our companies on our telecommunications projects will help improve connectivity in Nunatsiavut and Nunavut, thereby increasing socio-economic development opportunities and benefits for the indigenous peoples of these regions.” Madeleine Redfern, CanArctic Inuit Networks
“With this [HAVSIL system] agreement, we facilitate increased geographical distribution of traffic between Norway and abroad on a daily basis, and we also ensure that our national needs are taken care of should serious incidents occur that affect the existing international traffic to Sweden.” Elise Lindeberg, director of the security department, Norwegian Communications Authority
Example: HPC Without Being a High Producer of Carbon
A UK-based Quant hedge fund found itself poised for significant growth in 2020, fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and smart innovation in automated trading. The amount of data generated and consumed by massive quantitative analysis, based around high performance applications and high density computing, meant they needed to expand beyond their two connected data centers in London. They came into the market looking for more data center space to house their high performance computing (HPC) research cluster but with a keen desire to focus on sustainability and also drive a lower total cost than traditional colocation.
Using a point-in-time carbon intensity comparison as a surrogate for actual measurements over time, we see a stark difference in carbon emissions by locating this 1 MW AI workload in Oslo versus what could have been an expansion in London for the fund. The carbon savings, akin to taking 2,137 gasoline passenger vehicles off the roads or powering 1,142 homes for a year, are as compelling as the cost savings.
The Service Difference
For this HPC research workload example, the ultimate solution went far beyond the more routine offerings of colocation, dedicated white space, build-to-suit, or powered land. Bulk tapped their network of established partners to reduce complexity and to help plan and execute this project to meet an aggressive timeline. They helped the customer with power procurement analysis and counsel on attractive options using ADAPT. They also provided advice on import tax rules, where Bulk obtained a binding ruling to further simplify the process and help to limit costs. Bulk was able to support the logistics in receiving and managing the equipment and by acting as an importer of record, reducing the cost significantly.
Bulk teamed with partner BSI to finalize equipment selection and help with shipping and logistics. They also provided scoping on the cabling design and installation along with server deployments with partner Netsecurity. All of this and more, including highly trained and experienced on-the-ground installation and operation support teams, allowed Bulk and their partners to provide a fully integrated and comprehensive solution against a hard deadline.